At least for one day, Guardino is comedy king
Most know Carl Guardino as CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the high-powered lobbying group of powerhouse companies from Apple to Cisco Systems. He's also a fitness fiend who helped launch San Jose's annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot charity runs. And he's an uber-wonk who brought along a copy of the state's 2013 budget for, um, light reading on the inaugural flight of All Nippon Airways' Dreamliner 787 San Jose-Tokyo route.
But Guardino, who acted as master of ceremonies for that Dreamliner debut at Mineta San Jose International Airport, showed he's also a bit of a comedian.
As a host of dignitaries, including former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos and ANA Chairman Yoji Ohashi, each equipped with a big pair of scissors, prepared for the traditional ribbon cutting, Guardino quipped: "These scissors are important, but you can't bring them on the airplane."
The festivities also included the drinking of sake, of which Guardino deadpanned: "The sake is being distributed to everyone -- with the exception of our pilots -- on the trip today."
Earlier in the ceremony, with the Dreamliner's engines running and ready to head off to Tokyo trip, Guardino had to cut the program a bit short. "It would be a tragedy if our long remarks lasted longer than the flight," he said to waves of laughter.
After mosque debate, Morgan Hill reaches out
The opposition in South County to a new mosque in San Martin was not the area's proudest moment. Though a smallish cadre of opponents raised questions about traffic and water quality before the mosque was approved by Santa Clara County supervisors last September, the ugly legacy of 9/11 seemed to permeate the debate.
That's a piece of the background behind the recent announcement that Morgan Hill will enter into a sister-city relationship with the seaside Turkish city of Seferihisar (pop: 43,361), which sits on the Aegean Sea.
True, sister-city relationships are not the stuff of big news (San Jose has seven). And true, Morgan Hill is not San Martin, though the two communities are next to one another. Still, the announcement reflected a desire to put the battle over the mosque in the past.
"One of the goals of sister cities is to break down the barriers of misunderstanding between different countries and different cultures," wrote former Morgan Hill Mayor Dennis Kennedy. "With all of the negative focus on the mosque in San Martin, here's some positive news about building a bridge to a city in a predominately Muslim country."
Besides that, both areas have an up-and-coming wine industry. Makes for hospitality on those junkets -- excuse us, high-level economic visits -- by public officials.
Arnold is happy to be in Mayor Reed's corner
Ex-Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger has left politics behind and returned to the movies, where it is fair to say he's been a lot more successful. But when asked in a recent online forum if any current American politician "best embodies what is good about politics," the figure he cited was none other than San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.
"Even though Congress has an approval rating of 9 percent (losing to cockroaches and colonoscopies in polling), there are still some leaders who are doing the people's work instead of the party's work," Schwarzenegger posted in an "Ask Me Anything" question-and-answer forum on the social media site Reddit. It's a forum that's become a popular sounding board for celebrities, ranging from Stephen Colbert to President Barack Obama.
"That's political courage to me, being willing to risk your job to choose what's good for the public instead of getting stuck in your ideology," Schwarzenegger continued. "One of my favorites is Mayor Chuck Reed from San Jose. He's a Democratic (sic) who took on pension reform, he has always put the people first. You should look him up."
Like Reed, Schwarzenegger's efforts to slow the rapid growth of government employee pension costs ran into a buzz saw of union and Democratic opposition. The two were featured in a November 2011 Vanity Fair article by writer Michael Lewis on California's vexing budget problems.
The fate of Reed's voter-approved pension cuts now awaits court decisions. Cops and other city workers say Reed's blunt approach has spawned an employee exodus and invited higher crime. And getting a nod from the GOP's Schwarzenegger will surely bolster critics who say Reed's a closet Republican.
But at least the mayor can say he has some celebrity muscle in his corner.
Councilman Rocha's view: This is no fun
San Jose Councilman Don Rocha is so frustrated with the job that he says he's seriously considering hanging it up rather than seeking a second term.
A final decision may be a year off when the political landscape of the 2014 mayor and council races comes into sharper focus. But Rocha, a swing vote on the council, has grown so frustrated with what he sees as conservative stridence on the council that he's about to give up.
"Strongly feeling like that," Rocha said after a council vote to outsource trash billing that he felt was a foregone conclusion.
"If this is the work we're doing and the approach we're taking, I'm not sure I want to do this for eight years," Rocha said. "It's not been the most rewarding experience."
Rocha added that colleagues like liberal former defense lawyer Ash Kalra seem to handle the frustration of being on the losing end of many votes better than he.
"When you try a lot of defense cases, I guess you expect to lose 90 percent," Rocha said.
Despite his frustration with Mayor Chuck Reed's council majority, he said he tries to take a respectful public tone with the second-term mayor, who he said has done likewise with him.
"He gives me more space than my colleagues," Rocha said. "So I've been respecting that."
Internal Affairs is an offbeat look at state and local politics. This week's items were written by John Boudreau, Scott Herhold, John Woolfolk and Paul Rogers. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 408-975-9346.
Colorful businessman brought Sharks hockey team to the Bay Area in 1991 with his brother, Gordon, and helped build what is now HP Pavilion in San Jose. He died Tuesday at age 75, leaving San Jose an important economic and entertainment legacy.
Santa Clara County DA's Office
After a Menlo Park police detective was found naked in a Motel 6 with a prostitute in 2011, prosecutors dropped the case, claiming the Sunnyvale cop who made the arrest wasn't available to testify. Doesn't look good.
Bay Area homeowners
The region's housing market is finally bouncing back, with the median price up 24 percent from a year ago to $470,000. But that's still a far cry from the $738,500 median at the peak in 2007.